Full Nest, Empty Nest

The Bavaria Virtess 420 Coupe appeals to families—no matter what stage of life they’re in.

It has been said that there’s a boat for everyone and a person for every boat. For anyone who has attended boat shows and seen the varieties of boat designs, sizes and layouts, it’s not exactly a stretch of the imagination to realize that there are in fact, many boats that meet a buyer’s needs. Infrequently if ever, though, have I felt a boat could easily transition to the changing needs of families: couples become parents, babies become teens, and parents become couples again. As it turns out, the Bavaria 420 Virtess is an exception to that line of thinking.

As the company’s moniker suggests, Bavaria Yachts is based in Germany, and the factory-direct company has been building boats for nearly 40 years. Its product lines include both mono- and multi-hull sailboats, and two motoryacht lines. The Sport line offers sizes 29 to 45 feet, and the Virtess line—first launched in 2012—comes as both a 42′ Flybridge and 42′ Coupe. Bavaria has earned a reputation in Europe as one of the top-producing builders, but it wasn’t until the 2014 Fort Lauderdale Boat Show that they entered the U.S. market and introduced the Virtess 420—even without the U.S. introduction they’ve already built some 40 hulls. It was there that the Bavaria Virtess 420 Coupe—or more specifically, its swim platform, transitional cockpit furniture and rooftop sunpad—turned my head.

Dirk Boehmer, Bavaria Motor Yachts USA national sales director, welcomed me to its U.S. Sales and Service headquarters at Harbor Town Marina in Dania, Florida, just south of Fort Lauderdale. Additional factory direct sales offices are in Annapolis, Maryland; Mystic, Connecticut; Atlanta, Georgia; and San Diego, California.

“Before you board, take a look at this,” Boehmer said while he lowered the swim platform into the water. I wasn’t sure why he was so enthralled with the hydraulically lowered swim platform since they’re not a new concept, but then I noticed the telescoping stairway extending automatically as the swim platform lowered. Now that is new, I thought, and at the same time I realized it makes every other builders’ standard swim ladder look so last decade, maybe even pre-millennium. Then Boehmer raised the platform back up, and the stairway neatly tucked into the platform deck. So clever, and so cool.

Another sensible option that goes hand-in-hand with that coolness is the movable cockpit furniture. Two loveseat-sized sofas and a table slide via channels in the deck for multiple arrangements and open up the cockpit area. When you’re at anchor and enjoying the water, slide the sofas around to face each other so that the entire back area is open to the water—and those playing in it.

Teenagers seeking personal space on board the 420 Coupe will undoubtedly climb the cockpit ladder and claim the rooftop sunpad, which you don’t see from the dock. Be careful of the ladder handhold—it’s a necessary safety feature but the sturdy rail protrudes a bit, and I bumped into it twice while moving around the cockpit. There’s another sunpad on the bow equally spacious for sunning or stargazing.

Inside the salon, a comfy settee and table for six is to starboard and directly across from the standard pop-up TV. There’s room for two at the helm, and headroom throughout is ample—even for Boehmer’s 6’4″ height there’s room to spare. Directly across from the helm, the galley to port offers built-in garbage containers, a double sink, microwave, cooktop, fridge, and a dedicated space for a serving tray with storage underneath. Teak is standard for the sole, although this particular model has DuraDeck synthetic teak inside and out, a robust, durable option for families.

German engineering is as evident below deck as it is above with efficiency of design and space utilization. A few steps forward and down from the salon, three cabins accommodate six comfortably—ideal for a family or three couples on a long cruising weekend. (Don’t forget that this is only a 42-foot boat.) The ensuite forward master with an island queen bed offers more than adequate storage, while the two guest cabins each have two twin berths—they can be combined for a full-size berth—and share the other head, which also serves as a dayhead and is accessed from the hallway.

One of the benefits of buying a boat from a factory-direct builder like Bavaria is that there are no dealer mark-ups added to the price. According to Boehmer, all of their models sized 36 feet and larger are extremely price competitive compared with other boats in the same class and size. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that while production efficiency has been scrutinized and maximized, any customization changes will reduce the cost savings and add to the price. Boehmer says that depending on requested changes, they may be accommodated at the factory but implemented after delivery in the U.S. All Bavaria Motor Yachts come with a full two-year warranty, whether sold in Europe—a compulsory requirement there—or in the U.S.

My sea trial out of the Dania Cut-Off Canal and past container ships being loaded at Port Everglades gave me time to explore the Virtess 420 Coupe’s conversation areas and imagine that if I was lucky, my sea trial might last a little longer than expected. The only thing that would make the day even better would be to have my whole family with me, and on this boat there would even be room for the cousins, too.

LOA: 44′ 7″
Beam: 13′ 10″
Draft: 3′ 8″
Weight: 24,250 lbs.
Fuel/Water: 317/108 U.S. gals.
Power: 2x Volvo Penta IPS 600 diesels @ 435-hp each
Cruise/Top speed: 25/34 knots
Range: 250 nm @ cruise
MSRP: $763,291 as equipped; $630,563 base price (delivered to Fort Lauderdale and prepped)

Bavaria Yachts USA
825 NE Third Street
Dania Beach, FL 33004
(954) 639-7976

Southern Boating, By Liz Pasch, June 2015